Saturday, July 25, 2015

NATO Allies Stumbling Over Selfmade Contradictions

Turkey attacks Kurdish militia & ISIS positions – PM's office

News | 25.07.2015 | 13:20
RT - The Turkish PM’s office has said their fighter jets bombed seven militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Northern Iraq, AFP reported. Kurdish forces have been battling the Islamic State militants for months.
Turkey has also launched simultaneous ground attacks against the PKK and Islamic State in northern Syria, Reuters said, citing the PM’s office.
On Friday, Ankara announced joining the anti-ISIS coalition by providing jets and airbases as part of an agreement with the US.
The move was due to the growing threat to Turkey’s security posed by the jihadists, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
Airstrikes were carried out against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and also targeted PKK warehouses, logistics points, living quarters and storage buildings, Turkish authorities said in a statement.
“Strikes were carried out on targets of the Daesh (Islamic State) terror group in Syria and the PKK terror group in northern Iraq,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office said in a statement.
Three F-16 jets struck Islamic State positions, hitting two command centers and a gathering point close to the Turkish-Syrian border. Nine jihadists were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
All the Turkish Air Force’s F-16 jets have safely returned to their base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir after the second wave of airstrikes early on Saturday morning, according to AFP citing the official Anatolia news agency.
The air assault that started at dawn on Friday was the first Turkish strike against Kurds in northern Iraq since a peace deal between Ankara and the PKK separatists was announced in 2013.
"At around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) tonight, Turkish warplanes started bombing our positions near the border, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling," PKK spokesman in Iraq, Bakhtiar Dogan, confirmed to AFP.
Among the bombarded locations was the stronghold of PKK's military leadership at Mount Kandil.
The Kurdistan Workers Party announced in its website that after last night's airstrikes and ground military attacks, the truce with Turkey has “no meaning anymore.”
The Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting Turkey for autonomy since 1984. The Turks and their NATO allies list the group as a terrorist organization.
Turkish artillery also shelled Islamic State and PKK positions from across the border, Ankara said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Ankara had agreed to let the US use the Incirlik air base near the city of Adana in southern Turkey.
"In our phone call with Obama, we reiterated our determination in the struggle against the separatist organization [Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)] and the Islamic State," Erdogan told reporters on Friday. "We took the first step last night."
A new eruption of violence in Turkey was sparked by an IS suicide bombing in the southeastern Turkish city of Suruc on Monday that killed 32 people, most of whom were Kurdish nationals. The Kurds have accused the Turkish authorities of a laissez-faire approach towards Islamic State.
A series of terror acts targeting Turkish police, carried out by Kurdish activists this week, claimed the lives of two Turkish law enforcers near the mainly Kurdish city of Sanliurfa close to the Syrian border.
On Friday, suspected PKK militant threw a small bomb into a police station in Bismil, wounding seven police officers.

It's All About Gas: Will the EU Find Potential Energy Supplier to Replace Russia?

News | 25.07.2015 | 00:04
Sputnik - The US and EU are taking great pains to find a substitute for Russia's gas, Scottish researcher and writer Steven MacMillan notes, adding that Azerbaijan and Norway may potentially play a pivotal role.
Washington and Brussels have long been expressing their anxiety regarding Europe's dependence on Russia's energy; the US has recently intensified its efforts to replace Russia as Europe's main provider of natural gas, while the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) has presented a number of possible scenarios to diversify the EU's gas supplies away from Russia.
"Since relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated so rapidly following the US coup in Ukraine, Western strategists have been working relentlessly to find a replacement to Russian energy supplies to the EU. In the immediate term, this is impossible, a reality that unnerves many in Washington and Brussels," Scottish geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report Steven MacMillan underscored.
However, neither Washington nor Brussels are ready to give up, the analyst noted, adding that the West is considering a number of countries which could in the medium to long term replace Russia's gas supplies or at least "dramatically reduce" Europe's energy dependence.
The recent report by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) entitled "Europe's Alternatives to Russian Gas," is considering a vast range of potential energy suppliers.
For instance, among the "candidates" are such energy suppliers as Iraq and Libya. Alas, the states are so unstable — "due to Western foreign policy of course" — that they cannot be regarded as viable options, the expert underscored.
The ECFR analysts also view Israel as the EU's potential energy supplier, but this source is again an unlikely substitute for Russian gas: 60 percent of Israel's gas reserves go to the domestic market.
Resource-rich Turkmenistan cannot solve the European dilemma either: the country has shifted its export strategy toward China.  
At the same time, the ECFR clings to the hope that Iran, a country that hosts vast oil and gas reserves, may become a possible player.
"Speculation has grown in recent months that Tehran and Brussels could strike an energy deal in the near future that would see Iran supplying gas and oil to the EU. With recent news that the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 states have concluded successfully, and a deal has been reached which is expected to see sanctions gradually lifted, this is becoming more likely," Steven MacMillan emphasized.
However, it seems that Brussels is doomed to disappointment:  according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran is far from being able to replace Russia as a supplier, since it lags behind in gas extraction.
Furthermore, despite the agreement that has been reached between Tehran and the P5+1, Iran still views the Western countries "as perfidious partners," given the controversial history of their meddling into Iranian affairs.
"There is no question that many of the neocons in Washington will be irate at the recent deal and will still push for regime change in Tehran," MacMillan remarked.
Thus far, both Washington and Brussels should better seek more tame and subservient states than Iran to replace Russia. Remarkably, ECFR analysts claim that Azerbaijan could play this role, stressing that "Azerbaijan is the supplier best placed to respond to the EU's strategy of diversifying gas supply away from Russia."
There is a project that envisages the connection of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), that will run from Azerbaijan to Turkey, with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will go through Greece and Albania to Italy. It is expected that TAP will become operational by 2020 and will have an initial capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
"It will be important for the West to ensure that Azerbaijan continues to play a cooperative role with Western energy corporations in the future, as some voices in Washington have asserted that 'US-Azerbaijan relations are clearly now in serious crisis'," MacMillan pointed out.
And last but not the least is Norway that will most likely continue to play a significant role in providing the EU with natural gas. As the Norwegian Foreign Minister stated earlier this year, Norway will supply gas to Europe for "years to come."
While the West is sweating bullets about Europe's dependency on Russia's gas, Moscow is expanding its energy ties with Asian and Latin American countries. In addition to its ongoing projects Russia is considering building the Altai pipeline that will connect Western Siberia with northwestern China. Moreover, the Kremlin has already signed an energy deal with Argentina and inked an agreement with Saudi Arabia, the US' longstanding ally, on cooperation in the nuclear energy sphere. 

China strongly protests Japan allowing Lee Teng-hui's entry

News | 25.07.2015 | 12:15
Xinhua - China on Friday voiced grave concern and strong dissatisfaction over Japan's decision to allow former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui to visit Japan.
"Lee Teng-hui is a stubborn Taiwan splittist," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang in a press release.
Despite stern representations from China, Japan assisted Lee's visit and his involvement in Taiwan separatist activities, said Lu.
The Taiwan issue concerns the core interest of China, he said, adding China is resolutely opposed to any individual trying to engage in Taiwan separatist activities in any form.
China also firmly opposes the practice of any country providing a political platform for the Taiwan splittist, he said.
We urge the Japanese side to abide by the principles enshrined in the four political documents signed by China and Japan, including the China-Japan Joint Statement, and fulfill its solemn commitments to China, said Lu.
He urged Japan to stick to the One-China policy and deal with Taiwan-related issues in a prudent and appropriate manner and refrain from creating a new political barrier for China and Japan.
Lee Teng-hui, former Taiwan leader and Kuomintang Chairman, has long been engaged in activities of "Taiwan independence". He served as the island's leader from 1988 to 2000.
Also on Friday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said that "we strongly oppose any country providing a stage for 'Taiwan independence' activities, and take strong umbrage at Japan allowing Lee to visit."
In response to media questions, Ma noted that Lee's public remarks to romanticize Japan's colonial rule in Taiwan and claim that the Diaoyu Islands belong to Japan are condemned by both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
"Lee's contemptible acts have made compatriots from both sides see more clearly the extreme harms 'Taiwan independence' forces do to the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and the integral benefit of the Chinese nation, and will surely be scorned by compatriots from both sides," Ma said.

Russian Economy Ready to Thrive Despite Setbacks – Chinese Media

News | 25.07.2015 | 14:22
Sputnik - The Russian economy is on the rise, but some challenges have yet to be resolved, according to the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao.
The Russian-language version of the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao (People's Daily) said in its editorial that the Russian economy is showing sustainable growth but that it has yet to overcome an array of challenges.
The newspaper recalled that recently, the World Bank and other international organizations made a forecast that in the next few years, the Russian economy would achieve positive growth, which would total 0.6 percent and 2.7 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The Russian government was even more optimistic, saying that in the third and the fourth quarter of this year, Russia will be able to restore the previous rate of growth.
Compared with the pessimistic outlook at the end of last year and earlier this year, it is safe to say that Russia's recovery projections have improved, Renmin Ribao reported.
Despite the fact that the beginning of 2015 saw Russia's economy show signs of plummeting, in the second quarter of the year, the situation improved, the newspaper said, citing the slowing of the GDP's decline and the reduction in monthly  inflation. The financial situation in Russia is now stable, despite the devaluation of the ruble, which remains a freely convertible currency;  compared to the end of last year, it increased by almost a third. Russia has also successfully solved problems pertaining to its external debt, the newspaper said, adding that in addition to repaying 130 billion dollars in 2014, it has already paid off almost 60 billion dollars of foreign debt in the first quarter of this year.
Addressing factors which have added to Russia's economic recovery, the newspaper first pointed to a rebound in oil prices, which Renmin Ribao sad is a big plus for Russia, where oil remains part and parcel of the country's development. Secondly, the crisis in Ukraine, which prompted the United States and Europe to slap economic and financial sanctions against Russia, has yet to be tackled, but the situation has stabilized, which is contributing to the restoration of confidence in the Russian market.
More importantly, the Russian government continues to rely on the country' rich resources in order to pursue its policy of active financial intervention. In the beginning of 2015, the government developed an anti-crisis plan stipulating support for the banking system, major enterprises, small and medium businesses, the active promotion of import-substituting technologies, the optimization of budget expenditures, as well as maintaining the stability of the labor market and assistance to vulnerable social groups.
Many of these tasks have already been successfully resolved, the newspaper recalled, referring to Russia's food industry, where the production of meat and dairy products has increased by almost 13 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, in the first four months of this year, the newspaper said.
Despite a chill in ties between the West and Russia, the country is not alone on the international stage, Renmin Ribao said, citing Russia's role in hosting the SCO and BRICS country summits, its decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the creation of new Bank of BRICS. Additionally, Russia held its 19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was attended by more than 2,000 people, including many foreign guests from the European and American multinational corporations, according to the newspaper.
It should be noted, however, that Russia's economy still has a very difficult path ahead, Renmin Ribao said, singling out the plummeting world oil prices, among other negative factors. The United States has, meanwhile, threatened to introduce more sanctions against Russia, while the EU has decided to extend its anti-Russian sanctions for six months.
These sanctions and the fight against the sanctions may lead to a "tug of war", which could reach a new level following the Ukrainian crisis, the newspaper concluded, saying that for such a big country as Russia, the path to recovery cannot be completely smooth  and devoid of serious challenges.
Tags: China Russia

Machtwechsel auf der Erde? Erläuterung Hölderlins Hymne „Patmos“

Nah ist
Und schwer zu fassen der Gott.
Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst
Das Rettende auch.

— Friedrich Hölderlin (1802) 

Hölderlin beginnt die Patmos-Hymne mit mystischem Pathos: Gott ist nah, näher als alles andere, denn wir sind untrennbare Teile des Allgegenwärtigen. Sein Schöpfungsplan entfaltet sich vor unseren Augen, und dennoch ist dieser göttliche Plan schwer zu fassen, da der Mensch immer eine beschränkte Sicht hat. Deshalb ist Offenbarung notwendig, wie einst auf Patmos. Die auch heute offenbar werdenden Zeichen bestätigen die damalige Offenbarung und weisen auf große Prüfungen hin, doch: „Wo Gefahr ist, wächst das Rettende auch.“

Dies wird in den direkt anschließenden Zeilen durch das majestätisch-symbolische Bild der Adler illustriert, die immer am Rand des Abgrunds wohnen, in einsamen Felsenklüften, aber auch wohnen in der Finsternis, die da ganz oben schweben.

Nah ist
Und schwer zu fassen der Gott.
Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst
Das Rettende auch.
Im Finstern wohnen
Die Adler und furchtlos gehn
Die Söhne der Alpen über den Abgrund weg
Auf leichtgebaueten Brücken.
Drum, da gehäuft sind rings
Die Gipfel der Zeit, und die Liebsten
Nah wohnen, ermattend auf
Getrenntesten Bergen,
So gib unschuldig Wasser,
O Fittige  gib uns, treuesten Sinns
Hinüberzugehn und wiederzukehrn.
So sprach ich, da entführte
Mich schneller, denn ich vermutet,
Und weit, wohin ich nimmer
Zu kommen gedacht, ein Genius [... nämlich nach Patmos]

Nach einer 'gott- und götterlosen Zeit der Nacht' sollen wieder Licht und Erleuchtung, ein neuer „Tag“, auf die Erde kommen.
Jemand, der das Aufscheinen revolutionären Umbruchs bereits in den frühen, ersten Anzeichen erkannte und für die kommenden Generationen ankündigte, war der Dichter Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843). Was damals, vor zweihundert Jahren, für die meisten Menschen ähnlich unverständlich und unvorstellbar  erschienen sein mag,  hat heute noch Gültigkeit. Ex Oriente Lux:  der neue Tag bricht im Osten schon an, obwohl noch finstere Nacht im Westen herrscht. (BRICS/SCO/EEU/AIIB seien als Realchiffren  dafür genannt)

Die berühmten Anfangszeilen des hymnischen Gedichtes 
Patmos mögen zeitlos scheinenDie Prägnanz des Zitats und auch die Überschrift des Gedichtes stehen allerdings  in einem direkten Zusammenhang mit dem Machtwechsel auf der Erde und der prophezeiten Wendezeit. Patmos ist nämlich jene im ägäischen Meer gelegene Insel, wo der Apostel Johannes die Vision der Geheimen Offenbarung empfing („Ich, Johannes, bin auf die Insel Patmos verbannt worden, weil ich Gottes Wort und die Wahrheit, die Jesus ans Licht gebracht hat, öffentlich verkündet habe“ Offb 1,9). Wie die Ausführungen im vorliegenden Buch zeigen, ist diese Offenbarung heute aktueller denn je – aus dem einfachen Grund, weil sie sich auf die heutige Zeit bezieht.